THREE minutes of added time was enough for Harbour View to secure a 1-0 win over Portmore United, and three points, as they widened their lead atop the Red Stripe Premier League to a nine.
With the game apparently heading for a 0-0 stalemate, defender Christopher Harvey's perfect header from midway the box in the 90+1 minute gave Harbour View a crucial win over the defending champions.
The 'Stars of the East' who were winning their 11th game from 17 outings, moved to 37 points and are well clear of three teams — Portmore United, Montego Bay United and Arnett Gardens, all on 28 points — with a game in hand.
Portmore, who were suffering their sixth loss and second against Harbour View this season, played well with a relatively young team and had their fair share of chances to win the game.
It was a fast-paced match between two hard-running and technically gifted teams. Harbour View welcomed back playmaker Jermaine Hue from the Reggae Boyz' dismal run in the Caribbean Cup, and he was influential as usual.
Hue was partnered in the middle by John-Ross Edwards, Nicholas Beckett — who looked out of position on the right — and the calming Evan Taylor at the holding position. Upfront were Jermie Lynch and Damian Harwood.
Ewan Grandison also returned from national duties and was handed the armband by Portmore coach Andre Waugh and took his position in a very young midfield alongside Paul Wilson, Andrew Vanzie and Ricardo Morris.
The relatively new Cleon Pryce started up front with the lively Alanzo Adlam who looked sharp and was hard to contain.
With a balanced first half with little goal-mouth action, it was the visiting Portmore who got the better chances, hitting the bar twice. First, Adlam's header crashed off the inside of the bar, then Grandison's deflected shot did likewise.
The second period was much more entertaining as both teams went for the win. In the 59th minute Lynch got a glorious chance to score for Harbour View from six metres out, but his tame toe-punch was deflecting around the post for a corner. Three minutes later, Lynch blasted over from just inside the box as the home team started to dominate.
In the 69th, Harbour View were awarded a free kick 35 metres out and the home fans began cheering as if they were awarded a penalty. Hue's subsequent kick from an angle sailed over the goalkeeper's head and onto the crossbar.
Three minutes later, Lynch was at it again as his header was tipped over, while Adlam responded for Portmore with a powerful left-footer that was well saved by goalkeeper Michaud Barrett.
In the 82nd, substitute Kemeel Wolfe missed a header from 10 metres for Harbour View, but Harvey showed him how it should be done by picking his spot and heading powerfully into the back of the net in time added for a crucial win.
Harbour View — Michaud Barrett, Clifton Waugh, Christopher Harvey, Kemar Lawrence, Eric Vernon, Evan Taylor, Nicholas Beckett (Kemeel Wolfe 78th), John-Ross Edwards, Jermaine Hue, Damian Harwood (Romaine Lewis 64th), Jermie Lynch (Jorginho James 71st)
Subs not used: D Haughton, D Edwards, R Campbell, R Morris
Portmore United — Kemar Foster, Ryan Wellington, Rosario Harriott, Kareem Manning, Trevol Smith, Andrew Vanzie, Ewan Grandison, Paul Wilson (Damian Binns (85th), Ricardo Morris (Ronoldo Rodney 78th), Cleon Pryce (Stephen Williams 62nd), Alanzo Adlam
Subs not used: C Walters, M Gordon, A Coley, J Jackson
Booked: Vanzie 16th, Pryce 35th, Manning 68th, Williams 87th
Referee: Courtney Campbell
Assistants: Richard Washington, Damion Williams.
Fourth Official: Carvel Banton
Match Commissary: Anthony Cooke